Canadian company resumes gold drilling in South Dakota

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A Canadian company said it has secured the money and land holdings it needs to resume drilling for gold in what it calls a "vastly under-explored" area in South Dakota.

Mineral Mountain Resources suspended exploratory drilling in the Black Hills last year. The Vancouver-based company notified the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources on Monday that it can restart drilling this week, the Rapid City Journal reported.

Last year, the company drilled nine holes to obtain core samples east of Rochford. The holes averaged about 1,000 feet (305 meters) in depth and were plugged with bentonite. The state approved 111 more holes at 10 drilling sites on private land in the Standby Mine area.

"The Rochford Project is vastly under-explored and has the potential to host several district scale gold discoveries," the company said in a news release last week.

Investors pooled about $1.6 million to fund the drilling.

Mineral Mountain will purchase water for its drilling project from the city of Lead, according to a DENR spokesman. Water is used in the drilling process to cool and lubricate the drill.

The company paid $500,000 to purchase nine tracts of about 67 contiguous acres (27 hectares) from G&D Gold Mining Co., a South Dakota corporation.

The Black Hills has been luring other miners, too.

The U.S. Forest Service is now reviewing an environmental assessment of Minneapolis-based F3 Gold's plan for exploratory drilling project near Silver City. Wharf Resources, which operates the only active, large-scale gold mine in the Black Hills, has a plan approved by state regulators to conduct exploratory drilling in hopes of extending the life of its existing mine near Lead.